Mocobizscene- A federal prison sentence of 10 years was handed down on Thursday to a man from New York City who had been arrested twice in less than three years for smuggling significant quantities of drugs into the Pittsburgh area.
In October 2020, Christopher Delacruz, 35, was initially apprehended during a routine traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Westmoreland County. State police discovered four pounds of fentanyl concealed within the SUV he was traveling in.
In March 2023, Delacruz faced another arrest outside the Pittsburgh Greyhound bus station. During this incident, agents from the state attorney general’s office discovered him in possession of a bag containing 300 bricks of fentanyl. It is important to note that at the time of this arrest, Delacruz was already out on a $20,000 unsecured bond from a previous case.
Delacruz has been sentenced to five years of supervised release following his time in prison.
He was traveling on the turnpike with Juan Pimentel, 34. According to court papers, the duo claimed to be going to Pittsburgh to visit friends for the day, but they seemed uneasy during the encounter with the troopers. Police discovered that the SUV had made five trips to the Pittsburgh area in the past month.
Both men admitted their guilt in a conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs. In addition, Delacruz pleaded guilty to another drug offense in the same case and to possession with the intention to distribute in the Pittsburgh operation. He has been in custody since his arrest.
Prosecutors have requested a substantial sentence in their sentencing memorandum.
Prosecutors emphasized the severe consequences of the defendant’s crimes on society and argued that the punishment should reflect the gravity of the situation. They highlighted the devastating effects of the fentanyl/heroin epidemic, emphasizing its deadly nature.
Defense attorney Lyle Dresbold urged the judge to uphold the plea agreement made with the prosecutors and impose a 10-year prison sentence on Delacruz.
“The fentanyl crisis in our country has reached an alarming level, with couriers playing a significant role in perpetuating this problem,” stated Dresbold in a sentencing memorandum. “Imposing a 10-year sentence acknowledges the seriousness of the defendant’s actions while also allowing for the possibility of rehabilitation and personal development.”
Pimentel received a two-year sentence in May for his involvement in the turnpike case. Following his prison term, he will be placed under three years of supervised release. It’s worth noting that Pimentel had no previous criminal record, which contributed to his lesser culpability, as stated in court documents.
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